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[lot-uh-ree] /ˈlɒt ə ri/
noun, plural lotteries.
a gambling game or method of raising money, as for some public charitable purpose, in which a large number of tickets are sold and a drawing is held for certain prizes.
any scheme for the distribution of prizes by chance.
any happening or process that is or appears to be determined by chance:
to look upon life as a lottery.
Origin of lottery
First recorded in 1560-70, lottery is from the Middle Dutch word loterie (whence also French loterie). See lot, -ery
Related forms
antilottery, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for lottery
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If you smile your face will be attractive, no matter how unlucky you were in the lottery of beauty.

    Evening Round Up William Crosbie Hunter
  • Austin had not been permitted to have a chance in the lottery with other soldiers of the Revolution.

    Stories Of Georgia Joel Chandler Harris
  • Those who form companionships amid such circumstances go into a lottery where there are twenty blanks to one prize.

    New Tabernacle Sermons Thomas De Witt Talmage
  • The lottery was drawn under the management of five responsible persons.

    Stories Of Georgia Joel Chandler Harris
  • The ministers preferred ready money by annuities for ninety-nine years, and by a lottery.

    Old and New London Walter Thornbury
British Dictionary definitions for lottery


noun (pl) -teries
a method of raising money by selling numbered tickets and giving a proportion of the money raised to holders of numbers drawn at random
a similar method of raising money in which players select a small group of numbers out of a larger group printed on a ticket. If a player's selection matches some or all of the numbers drawn at random the player wins a proportion of the prize fund
an activity or endeavour the success of which is regarded as a matter of fate or luck
Word Origin
C16: from Old French loterie, from Middle Dutch loterije. See lot
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for lottery

1560s, "arrangement for a distribution of prizes by chance," from Italian lotteria, from lotto "lot, portion, share," from same root as Old English hlot (see lot). Cf. Middle French loterie, from Middle Dutch loterje, from lot (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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